This was just loaded you tube today.
What is your preferred gender pronoun?
Which restroom do you FEEL like you need to use today?
Do you have an online chat with a customer service rep?
They really need to connect with us more on a human level so we can take ‘them’ seriously. Right? NOT TO WORRY…nope! They are working on that right now. Please…read this article. Read it twice. Then read it again.
Are you ready? Things are getting creepier by the day!
Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano
People get up to weird things in New Zealand. At the University of Auckland, if you want to run hours upon hours of experiments on a baby trapped in a high chair, that’s cool. You can even have a conversation with her surprisingly chatty disembodied head.
BabyX, the virtual creation of Mark Sagar and his researchers, looks impossibly real. The child, a 3D digital rendering based on images of Sagar’s daughter at 18 months, has rosy cheeks, warm eyes, a full head of blond hair, and a soft, sweet voice. When I visited the computer scientist’s lab last year, BabyX was stuck inside a computer but could still see me sitting in front of the screen with her “father.” To get her attention, we’d call out, “Hi, baby. Look at me, baby,” and wave our hands. When her gaze locked onto our faces, we’d hold up a book filled with words (such as “apple” or “ball”) and pictures (sheep, clocks), then ask BabyX to read the words and identify the objects. When she got an answer right, we praised her, and she smiled with confidence. When she got one wrong, chiding her would turn her teary and sullen.
If it sounds odd to encounter a virtual child that can read words from a book, it’s much more disorienting to feel a sense of fatherly pride after she nails a bunch in a row and lights up with what appears to be authentic joy. BabyX and I seemed to be having a moment, learning from each other while trading expressions and subtle cues so familiar to the human experience. That’s the feeling Sagar is after with his research and his new company Soul Machines Ltd.
The term “artificial intelligence” has become a catchall for impersonal, mysterious calculations performed behind closed doors. Huge farms of computers crank away at piles of data, using statistics to analyze our internet history, driving habits, and speech to produce targeted ads, better maps, and Apple Inc.’s Siri. This sense of AI as an amorphous shadow falling over more and more of our lives has left people from Stephen Hawking to Elon Musk skeptical of the technology, which tends to feel unnatural, somehow less than real.
Sagar is a leading figure in the camp trying to humanize AI, which he says has the potential to yield a more symbiotic relationship between humans and machines. While he wasn’t the first to this idea, his approach is unique, a synthesis of his early years as a computer scientist and later ones in the world of Hollywood special effects. The face, he’s concluded, is the key to barreling through the uncanny valley and making virtual beings feel truly lifelike. Soul Machines’ creations are unparalleled in this respect, able to wince and grin with musculature and features that move shockingly like ours. They have human voices, too, and are already contracted for use as online helpers for companies ranging from insurance providers to airlines. Soul Machines wants to produce the first wave of likable, believable virtual assistants that work as customer service agents and breathe life into hunks of plastic such as Amazon.com’s Echo and Google Inc.’s Home.
Companies with similar aspirations throughout Japan and the U.S. have produced a wide array of virtual avatars, assistants, and holograms. Many of the people behind these projects say AI systems and robots can achieve their full potential only if they become more humanlike. They need to have memories, the thinking goes, plus something resembling emotions, to propel them to seek out their own experiences.
Sagar’s approach on this front may be his most radical contribution to the field. Behind the exquisite faces he builds are unprecedented biological models and simulations. When BabyX smiles, it’s because her simulated brain has responded to stimuli by releasing a cocktail of virtual dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin into her system. This is part of Sagar’s larger quest, using AI to reverse-engineer how humans work. He wants to get to the roots of emotion, desire, and thought and impart the lessons to computers and robots, making them more like us.
“Since my 20s, I’ve had these thoughts of can a computer become intelligent, can it have consciousness, burning in my mind,” he says. “We want to build a system that not only learns for itself but that is motivated to learn and motivated to interact with the world. And so I set out with this crazy goal of trying to build a computational model of human consciousness.”
Here’s what should really freak you out: He’s getting there a lot quicker than anybody would have thought. Since last year, BabyX has, among other things, sprouted a body and learned to play the piano. They grow up so fast.
Unlike most of those working in Silicon Valley, Sagar doesn’t reflexively defer to engineering. “When scientists see the world and artists see the world, they are looking at the same thing,” he says, “using a different language and viewpoint to describe it. But it’s all true. Everything is interconnected.”
He got that idea early. When he was born in Nairobi in 1966, his father was working for the East African Railways and Harbours Corp. as a systems analyst, programming punch-card computers to run the train infrastructure. His mother, a painter, took him to game reserves every Thursday to practice drawing animals. A few years later, the family moved to New Zealand, where Sagar started helping his dad DIY around the house—fixing the TV, monkeying with the plumbing, tuning up the cars. He kept honing his drawing skills, too, paying particular attention to his mom’s portrait work. “She was able to almost capture somebody’s likeness with about three lines, getting someone’s curves just right,” he says. “It made me really conscious of the importance of the exact curves of people’s eyes and mouths and things like that.”
Sagar made use of those observations as a young man abroad, when he sketched portraits for cash on the street and in restaurants. Like many youngsters from his part of the world, he took an extended break between high school and college. For four years he crisscrossed the globe, drawing, bartending, selling door to door, even filling sandbags for the Australian army to pay his way. After returning to New Zealand, he earned a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Auckland, then pursued postdoctoral work at MIT. In Massachusetts, he and some colleagues built digital models of the human eye that were detailed and lifelike enough for surgeons to use for practice. By 1998, Hollywood had called on Sagar to try to make computer-generated imagery, or CGI, look less CG.
His first project was a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which called for Sagar’s team to morph Jim Carrey into a talking fish capable of hunting Nazi U-boats. (Yes, really. The original starred Don Knotts.) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. abandoned the project after paying for $10 million in digital Carrey-fish expressions, deeming it too costly for a full-length film. Sagar, however, wasn’t ready to stop working on digital faces. For a couple of years he used the creatures as the basis of a virtual assistant startup called Life F/X and had his faces read emails aloud. The company died with the dot-com bubble, so Sagar took a job doing special effects for Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. (Spider-Man 2). That made him well-known in the movie business and led him back to New Zealand in 2004.
At Weta Digital, the effects shop run by Lord of the Rings director and fellow Kiwi Peter Jackson, Sagar won two Academy Awards in seven years, overseeing the digital character creation for Jackson’s King Kong remake and James Cameron’s Avatar. His synthesis of engineering and artistry had provided him with an advantage in making Kong and the alien Na’vi seem real. Years of drawing portraits and crafting virtual eyeballs had given him insights into the nuances of the face that are uncommon among CGI specialists, while his effects software has made it relatively easy to film an actor going through a range of emotions and to automatically fuse the expressions into, say, a giant gorilla. “It’s these almost imperceptible movements in the eye and face that we pick up on as something having a soul behind it,” he says.
Feeling he’d solved the riddles of the face, Sagar dreamed bigger. He’d kept an eye on advancements in AI technology and saw an opportunity to marry it with his art. In 2011 he left the film business and returned to academia to see if he could go beyond replicating emotions and expressions. He wanted to get to the heart of what caused them. He wanted to start modeling humans from the inside out.
At the University of Auckland, Sagar created the Laboratory for Animate Technologies and recruited about a dozen researchers. Far from Weta—or his Life F/X office on Hollywood Boulevard, with Bob Marley’s star out front—the Animate team worked in a cramped room kept permanently hot and sticky by the heat from their powerful computers. When I saw the space last year, the engineers were surrounded by giant animated faces projected onto the walls, every pore and eyebrow hair distinctly rendered. Far from being lifeless, the faces appeared eager to strike up conversations, their muscles contracting and relaxing with each breath.
At the back corner of the lab, Sagar sat amid a clutter of notes and books such as The Archaeology of Mind and Principles of Computational Modelling in Neuroscience. It was there, on his pair of massive computer monitors, that he put BabyX through her virtual paces. The baby represented the culmination of much of the lab’s efforts, combining Sagar’s facial artistry with the latest in AI learning and speech software. Underneath that cherubic face, there was also some pioneering, and borderline horrifying, technology.
With a click of his mouse, Sagar stripped away BabyX’s skin, leaving a floating pair of eyes—bloody veins and all—attached to a finely detailed brain with a brain stem running down the back. This version of BabyX could still see out into the world and interact with us. When we showed her words, the part of the brain that deals with language glowed purple. When we praised her, the pleasure center lit up yellow. “Researchers have built lots of computational models of cognition and pieces of this, but no one has stuck them together,” he said. “This is what we’re trying to do: wire them together and put them in an animated body. We are trying to make a central nervous system for human computing.”
Sagar clicked again, and the tissue of the brain and eyes vanished to reveal an intricate picture of the neurons and synapses within BabyX’s brain—a supercomplex highway of fine lines and nodules that glowed with varying degrees of intensity as BabyX did her thing. This layer of engineering owes its existence to the years Sagar’s team spent studying and synthesizing the latest research into how the brain works. The basal ganglia connect to the amygdala, which connects to the thalamus, and so on, with their respective functions (tactile processing, reward processing, memory formation) likewise laid out. In other words, the Auckland team has built what may be the most detailed map of the human brain in existence and has used it to run a remarkable set of simulations.
BabyX isn’t just an intimate picture; she’s more like a live circuit board. Virtual hits of serotonin, oxytocin, and other chemicals can be pumped into the simulation, activating virtual neuroreceptors. You can watch in real time as BabyX’s virtual brain releases virtual dopamine, lighting up certain regions and producing a smile on her facial layer. All the parts work together through an operating system called Brain Language, which Sagar and his team invented. Since we first spoke last year, his goals haven’t gotten any more modest. “We want to know what makes us tick, what drives social learning, what is the nature of free will, what gives rise to curiosity and how does it manifest itself in the world,” he says. “There are these fantastic questions about the nature of human beings that we can try and answer now because the technology has improved so much.”
Not long after my first play date with BabyX, Sagar packed up his lab and researchers and moved them to the top floor of Auckland’s iconic Ferry Building, where he started Soul Machines to commercialize his team’s breakthroughs. By his standards, the near-term commercial applications are pretty straightforward. About 45 staffers, including artists, AI experts, language experts, and coders, are building a cast of virtual assistants. For the most part, these are refined versions of Sagar’s Hollywood work, only they’re smart enough to understand spoken language and respond to queries, with less of the creep factor characteristic of virtual people.
The first face Soul Machines revealed to the world, in February, is Nadia, a pretty white woman with pulled-back brown hair, greenish eyes, pink lipstick, and Cate Blanchett’s voice. Sagar’s team developed her for Australia’s National Disability Insurance Agency, which plans to employ her as an online aid for the country’s 500,000 people with disabilities. The hope is that those interacting with Nadia on the agency’s website will find her more personable and usable than text-based chatbots or the menu trees on its automated phone line.
The interactivity goes both ways, according to Sagar. Nadia gives a subtle nod to signal understanding and appears quizzical when confused, but she also interprets viewers’ expressions through the cameras on their PCs or mobile devices. “If you look confused, it can see that and proactively guide you,” Sagar says. “You can also still yell at these things, but they will respond in the most gracious way. People are good at dealing with irate customers and adjust their body language for the situation. We can do the same thing.”
Sagar had some help with Nadia, using International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson technology as the basis for her speech recognition. His company recruited Blanchett to spend 15 hours recording phrases that the software can turn into a much wider variety of responses to questions. Nadia has already been tested on 10,000 people, who taught her to refine her answers and the emotions she displays at certain times. The Australian government expects her to start full-time work early next year.
Soul Machines has 10 trials under way with airlines, health-care providers, and financial-services firms. In the early going, the company’s biggest test will be whether users find its software realistic enough to be as satisfying as human conversation. Even successful customer-relations experiences with chatbots, ones where the bot gives the right answer, tend to leave people dissatisfied because they feel like they’ve been pawned off on an inferior being.
For now, Sagar’s team has been developing each of its first few virtual assistants in a one-off fashion, a bit like a consulting company. “Most of our clients today see their first digital employee as an extension of their brand,” says Chief Business Officer Greg Cross. “They are going through a design process that is similar to selecting a spokesperson for your TV advertising campaign.”
To make its process easier to repeat, Soul Machines is writing character creation software that reduces development to a series of simple menus. By sliding a few dials, Sagar can transform a young, thin avatar into an older, chubbier one and alter complexion and other features. Each menu-built result looks as lifelike as a character that a film production or video game developer might spend millions of dollars and many months to create. The company has paid actors to record hundreds of hours of monologue, assembling an audio library it can use to give voice to characters such as a troll meant for a client in Scandinavia or an animated, anthropomorphic strawberry that’ll be used on an educational site for children.
As the technology matures, Cross expects it to travel further from the PC screen. Automakers are already thinking about the characters fielding questions and answers from riders on screens in their self-driving cars. Similarly, Amazon, Apple, and Google parent Alphabet will likely want faces to go with their voice-activated virtual assistants. “We’re also exploring the idea of creating a digital celebrity,” Cross says. “What if you could take one of the top recording artists or sports people and build a digital version that fans could interact with in a very emotionally intelligent way?”
Like Cross, Sagar often appears oblivious that his pitch might sound creepy. In August, when I pay a visit to Soul Machines to see Sagar’s latest creations, he’s wearing a T-shirt that depicts two fetuses sharing a womb, arranged head-to-toe in a kind of yin-yang pose. One of the fetuses is human; the other has a distinctly artificial brain filled with circuitry. He wanted to make this design the company logo. The investors who gave him $7.5 million last November said no.
Sagar comes off like a visionary academic, at times almost possessed. Ask a basic question, and you’re likely to get an impassioned 30-minute response that weaves in AI, art, psychology, and Plato. It’s hard to imagine this man holding court with a car insurer, trying to sell a suit-wearing executive on a virtual avatar, without things getting weird. But Sagar says he relishes the commercial part of the business, because it’s helping him better understand what people like and don’t like about his avatars and zero in on the finer details of interpersonal interactions.
Version 5.0 of BabyX has gone far beyond the original floating head. BabyX now has a full body that sits in a high chair, legs bobbing back and forth while her hands look for something to do. For the next part, you’ll want to sit down and grab a pacifier, too.
Sagar’s software allows him to place a virtual pane of glass in front of BabyX. Onto this glass, he can project anything, including an internet browser. This means Sagar can present a piano keyboard from a site such as Virtual Piano or a drawing pad from Sketch.IO in front of BabyX to see what happens. It turns out she does what any other child would: She tries to smack her hands against the keyboard or scratch out a shabby drawing.
What compels BabyX to hit the keys? Well, when one of her hands nudges against a piano key, it produces a sound that the software turns into a waveform and feeds into her biological simulation. The software then triggers a signal within BabyX’s auditory system, mimicking the hairs that would vibrate in a real baby’s cochlea. Separately, the system sets off virtual touch receptors in her fingers and releases a dose of digital dopamine in her simulated brain. “The first time this happens, it’s a huge novelty because the baby has not had this reaction before when it touched something,” Sagar says. “We are simulating the feeling of discovery. That changes the plasticity of the sensory motor neurons, which allows for learning to happen at that moment.”
Does the baby get bored of the piano like your non-Mozart baby? Yes, indeed. As she bangs away at the keys, the amount of dopamine being simulated within the brain receptors decreases, and BabyX starts to ignore the keyboard.
Sagar has teamed up with Annette Henderson, a psychologist who runs a baby research lab in Auckland, to advance the technology. Henderson has filmed hundreds of hours of interactions between babies and caregivers while performing different experiments, such as teaching a baby a new word or ignoring him for a few minutes. The children’s response data—laughs, cries, hand movements, shifts in posture—are being digitized to create a better-informed behavioral model. “We know the exact movements, microexpressions, and responses,” Sagar says. “When we build our next models for BabyX, we should be able to generate this same behavior.”
In about 18 months, Henderson plans to use an upgraded version of BabyX to run experiments with caregivers and other children. She sees the virtual baby as a way to test new theories in previously unimaginable ways, by altering thousands of variables at will—what if a baby doesn’t smile, what if she won’t hold your gaze, and so on. Studying a virtual child’s response to stimuli, she says, may help researchers understand how to better engage with flesh-and-blood children who aren’t particularly social.
In return, Sagar gets to advance his quest to understand human nature. “We can record the mother interacting with a virtual baby and keep adding features to BabyX until she is so lifelike that we get a natural interaction,” he says. “At that point, we have achieved our goal.”
And then what?
Many of the world’s leading brain researchers have come away impressed by the types of simulations Sagar and other AI optimists are building. “I spend more and more time with these guys,” says Gary Lynch, a professor of neurobiology at the University of California at Irvine. “This is all real. It’s not an academic enterprise any longer.” The problem with work like Sagar’s, as Lynch sees it, is that the end result—a truly conscious virtual baby—is so complex and unique that it’s not a useful mirror of human behavior. “It will do something that nobody ever dreamed of,” he says. “It will head out the door and say, ‘Goodbye. I have stuff I want to do.’ ”
Other researchers caution that Sagar could be misleading people about the state of the technology through his cute, intricate faces. “Westerners tend to want to anthropomorphize these things, and we can get very enchanted by them,” says Ken Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at University of California at Berkeley. “If you make it look human and act human, you almost have a double responsibility to be clear about its limitations.” He applauds Sagar for doing this type of research but doesn’t want people to get false hope about the near-term benefits of such technology. Sagar has a tendency to talk as though BabyX can already do all the things he’s dreaming.
While it seems reasonable to assume Sagar’s endgame is a world that ties humans inextricably with machines, he often spends weekends in the wilderness to get away from computers, and he won’t let his kids use the internet at night. This isn’t exactly the type of behavior one might expect from someone pushing AI as fast as he can into the unknown and hoping for the best. During one of our conversations, I point out that tales such as Frankenstein don’t usually end up well for the humans. “We’re not digging up dead bodies,” he says, neatly dodging the real moral of the playing-God story.
You don’t have to be paranoid to believe the rise of AI could turn out quite badly for humans. The computers might start making decisions for themselves, and those decisions could include things detrimental to mankind. One minute, BabyX is eating a virtual pudding cup off a website; the next, she’s sold your house for personal amusement or decided she should be in charge.
Sagar remains sanguine about the lessons AI can learn from us and vice versa. “We’re searching for the basis of things like cooperation, which is the most powerful force in human nature,” he says. As he sees it, an intelligent robot that he’s taught cooperation will be easier for humans to work with and relate to and less likely to enslave us or harvest our bodies for energy. “If we are really going to take advantage of AI, we’re going to need to learn to cooperate with the machines,” he says. “The future is a movie. We can make it dystopian or utopian.” Let’s all pray for a heartwarming comedy.
Before watching this one in-particular I had told a friend that the 6 day war suddenly reminded me of how God created the world and all in it in 6 days and then rested on the 7th. That suddenly came to my mind and then after I watched this and it mentioned the same. I could not help but to cry as I heard the shofar blow after they reached the wailing wall.
Are you watching? Are you reading the word of God? It is time for much more to happen!
You don’t like Israel you say? You have a list of reasons?
I would say that we each need to pray that the Lord God would show us where we are wrong in any way we think. Pray for God to circumcise (cut away) our hearts of anything wicked, of anything not in line with the will of our Father in Heaven. You see, it really does not matter what we think but only matters what God Almighty desires. His way is perfect, ALWAYS. One day we will see that.
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Why Me Lord
Why me Lord, what have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving you
Or the kindness you’ve shown.
Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.
Tell me Lord, if you think there’s a way
I can try to repay
All I’ve taken from you
Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
What I’ve been through myself
On my way back to you.
Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.
The High Priestly Prayer
Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Joh 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Joh 17:7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
Joh 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
Joh 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
Joh 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
Joh 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Joh 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
Joh 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Joh 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Joh 17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
(Hos 4:1) Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
(Hos 4:2) By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
(Hos 4:3) Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
(Hos 4:6) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
I read these verses and I cannot help but see America. Verse 1 says not truth, no mercy and no knowledge of God in the land. Verse 2 says By swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing adultery….hmmm. Yes, that verse fits this country too.
Verse 1 tells us that there is no knowledge of God in the land. Why?
Verse 6 tells us that people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Why?
Scripture tells us that we have no knowledge because we HAVE REJECTED KNOWLEDGE. Because of rejecting knowledge from the one who gives it He will also reject us.
In verse 6 the word destroyed in Hebrew means CUT OFF. So, my people are cut off for lack of knowledge.
How do we change this? How do we turn things around? Can we?
1Sa 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
Psa 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. (I find it interesting that this is said again word for word in Psalm 53:4.)
Let’s pray. Dear Father in Heaven, as we read Your words written for us in your Holy Bible help us Lord. Convict each of us however you need to. Help us to look at our own lives. Help us to see where we each are lacking. Help us Lord God to cry out to You, to seek You, to search for You. Help us Lord God to have the ears to hear You. Circumcise our hearts. Circumcise our ears. Cut away all our wickedness. Teach us what the meaning of “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. Help us to read the scriptures and give us understanding as only You can. Open our eyes and ears and our hearts. Deuteronomy 30:6 says…And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of they seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all they soul, that thou mayest live. Help us Lord God Almighty to learn from You and Your perfect ways. In these days we see darkness growing and we desire to be a light in the darkness as You have called us to be. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Keep our lamps full of oil. May we be ready on that blessed day when we hear the trumpets blow. Thank you for hearing our cries and our prayers. Thank you for not turning your back on us and cutting us off as we know we all deserve. Thank you for your mercy and your grace. Help each of us to repent where your holy spirit reveals to each one of us. Help us then to turn from our wickedness and not go back. In your strength and your strength alone, help us to stand and not be shaken. It is in the name of Jesus Christ we ask all these things. We give thanks unto You! We praise You!
Psa 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Pro 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Pro 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Islam? I ask where is the peace loving in Islam when they can take an innocent 8 year old girl and beat her and strip her naked and leave her on the side of the street? How can anyone call that peaceful?
This morning this 8 year old girl was listed in our bullitan under prayer requests. It didn’t go into great detail so I looked it up to get more information and below is the article I found. Please pray.
A Muslim family in Pakistan beat an eight-year-old Christian girl and left her naked on the street in order to punish her uncle for courting a Muslim girl, according to reports.
The Muslim family allegedly abducted the Christian girl, named Parwasha, on her way home from school, before beating her and stripping her naked, leaving her clothes in the garbage.
Parwasha’s uncle, Iftikhar Masih, had been dating a Muslim girl named Samina, which infuriated the girl’s family. They decided to take revenge by dishonoring his niece as they felt Samina had been dishonored by Masih.
After being released, the girl ran home to her family, who appealed to the village elders for help. Not receiving any, the family then went to the local police station, but were told that the Muslim family had already filed a complaint against the Christian family for shaming Masih’s Muslim girlfriend, Samina. The police then arrested several members of the Christian family.
In its 2015 report, the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) presenting a damning picture of religious liberty in Pakistan, noting that “the Pakistani government engaged in and tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.”
The report stated that Pakistan’s legal environment is “particularly repressive due to its religiously discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation” and that the government “failed to protect citizens, minority and majority alike, from sectarian and religiously-motivated violence.”
Pakistan’s Organization for Legal Aid is preparing to file charges of assault for the aggression suffered by the girl, though the outcome is anything but certain.
“Sadly these cases go to Shariah Courts where Christian lawyers are not allowed to defend victims and Muslim lawyers notoriously provide shallow prosecution services,” said Wilson Chowdhry, Chair of the British Pakistani Christian association (BPCA), in reference to a recent similar case.
In this 95% Muslim country, “Pakistani authorities have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal actors who incite violence,” the USCIRF 2015 report found.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome
I am afraid that no matter what I say here I could have an argument with many. Why? I suppose because so many are lost and confused. That is because of the evil that is in this world. Not all lost people are evil people. Not all unbelieving people are evil people. All lost people are unsaved people.
Some will agree with me and some will say, “saved from what?”
Truth to me may not be truth to another. In that case then just what is truth? Is there even such thing as truth?
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
So, I say to seek the Lord with all your heart and soul and He will reveal the truth to you. The evil one has come to steal and kill and to destroy. Don’t be fooled by smooth words. Measure everything by the word of God. When you hear those who lead this world and say that we are all following the same God and we should all come and worship together I pray that you will really look at and listen to what is being said. One group may believe Jesus was a man and a prophet but not believe that He is God and that He came and He died for you and me and for our sins so that we might have life. So that cannot be the same god that I worship and believe in. We must be on guard. We must seek truth. Be careful and be not deceived.
I will end with what I know to be my truth.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Thank you Pastor JD Farag for the encouragement you give each of us!
Thank you Pastor JD Farag!
I am going to start something new. I believe we need prayer. We need a lot of prayer. The world is full of hurting people. Lonely people. Scared people. People in denile. Frankly we are a people who are in need of a savior. Not a savior but THE SAVIOR! Jesus Christ.
Will any of you join me in prayer? I wonder what God might do when His people call on His name? Each day I post will be for a prayer of a different situation. If you agree with me in prayer with each new post then just click the like button and join me.
Dear Lord God Almighty, we come humbly before you.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14-And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!
Lord, we lift up our brothers and sisters all over the world to you. We ask that you would rescue them in their afflictions. We know that NONE of us deserves for You to hear us. Not one of us is good enough to come near your throne. Yet, you are a merciful God. A forgiving God. You don’t want any of your children to parish and only want us to repent and come to you…draw near to you. Hear our cries. Forgive us, not because we deserve it but because You are God and You do that which You choose to do.
Lord, we pray for all those who are being tortured by ISIS. All the women and children being raped over and over and being forced to marry. Free them Lord, hear their cries, see their tears. Wipe them from their eyes. Give them strength to keep their minds on You, keep their focus on the One who can save, the One who gives life in spite of the death that may be staring them in the face. Show Your glory to them! May the hope that we have that ONLY comes from You, may it be restored to all those hurting. May the Holy Spirit fall upon them and lift them high! I pray for their families who may be filled with anxiety would rest in You. Rest in the King of Kings and the Creator of all things. Fill them with the wisdom and knowledge that comes from You. Fill them with the peace that only You can give.
I also pray for those who are part of ISIS. I pray that they would see You and it might fill them with a terror that even they have never seen even doing all that they are. I pray that You might use just one Lord. Use just one to set a captive free. I pray that one by one their lives might be changed because they have seen You…God Almighty…the One True God….the Alpha and Omega…the Beginning and the End…the First and the Last!
I pray Lord that You would begin to move across the nations of the world and that Your mighty Spirit would be felt all around the world. That people who are touched by You, who get a glimpse of who You are would be forever changed! They would be people with changed hearts and a renewing of their minds. They might go forth and serve You as they never dreamed they would or even could. The world might be filled with the testimony of what the Lord God has done for them and in them.
Lord, Your word says that nothing is impossible with You! NOTHING! Forgive us for thinking too small. Help us to have bigger expectations when it comes to what You can do! Help us to become bolder because we have a faith that is strong in the One who was and is able to do ALL things!
We praise Your most Holy Name! We thank You for all these things we have asked. We ask all these things in the name of Your precious son Jesus Christ. We lift up the name of Jesus and we exalt You Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen